Saturday, September 22, 2007


Introduction: Named after the Maris Piper potato for no apparent reason at, 15 Glenferrie Rd, Malvern close to Dandenong Road Maris has benefited mightily from very good reviews both in the AGF and Gourmet Traveller.
Ambience: The front room of an old house. Ten marble topped tables seat maximum of 40. Moderately noisy but amiable atmosphere

Service: Attentive relaxed

Food: I started with the quail dumplings in broth with supposedly truffle flavoured almond foam.

Only luke warm the dumplings were quite nice but the foam, with crisp slivers of almond, was totally gone and the truffle taste awol.
Carrot soup with a couple of succulent scallops was thick and tasty with extra texture and taste added by the addition of some bits of prune and wallnuts.The Pedro Jimenez sherry was lost in the mix. Spaghetti with broccoli (which was actually silver beat) and anchovy - usually distinctive but absent today, had been fried in olive oil till it had a crisp crunchy base and then turned out on to the plate. Nicely spiced. I loved it.

The main course of roast suckling pig with crispy crackling and apple was beautifully presented, tender and tasty however the balsamic flavour was also absent and the celeriac salad extremely bland.

Wine: I had a pleasant glass of Proseco ($9) There house sherry is also very acceptable
Price: You can have a two course lunch for $20 or three course early dinner with a glass of wine and coffee for $30 from a slightly limited menu otherwise about $35 to $45 for two courses.
Comments: Excellent value for a one hat restaurant but a bit ordinary for what I got there. Overall I was disappoined.
Score: Open to review 13.5/20

(A)LURE - Perth

Introduction: One of a bunch of restaurants at the Burswood complex
Ambience: Comfortable feeling of a good quality eatery without being exceptional

Service: Pleasant and efficient

Food: Beginning with an Amuse, a small pot of soup, which did nothing for me I was surprised at the very excellent Beef carpaccio, piquant sauce aged sherry truffle vinaigrette and herb salad that followed. The finely sliced raw beef ($20) was so tender it could have been tuna and the taste combination outstanding. I made a mistake having the sirloin Wagyu beef, supposedly grade 9, as main course. The accompanying half a small cray was delicious but the wagyu tough, overcooked and lacked taste. A poor choice for $115. The spiced Amelia Park lamb, tamarind jus, sweet potato fondant and marinated olives ($38) was excellent and the barrumundi, saffron potato, chorizo and garlic rouille peperade reasonably good. The desserts were disapointing. The coconut creme brulee, coconut sorbet and coconut shot ($20) looked good but had a displeasing grainy texture and the peanut butter parfait with cherry ice cream and soft caramel looked good but was nothing special.

Wine: The wine list is extensive and fairly reasonably priced with a good choice from about $8 by the glass or $40 upwards by the bottle. I enjoyed two of the least expensive! Both Feet First I preferred the clean finish of the semmillion sauvignon blanc to the cabernet merlot but both were really undistinguished BBQ wines

Price: At the upper end for a fairly good meal about $75/person for three courses
Comments: Patchy. close to very good

Score: 14/20

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Food Science Dinner with Dr Peter Barham

Introduction: A repeat of last years 'Science Dinner' at Fenix. After a drink in the foyer the night began with a lengthy introduction by Raymond Capaldi during which he demonstrated some of his tricks. These included the use of 2 meters of plastic tubing from Bunnings to make extra long coconut noodles and other gimmicks more entertaining than useful. He created some nice looking dishes but they were all for show and somewhat inedible
The dinner began with a superb Veloute of Butternut Pumpkin with a dribble of Pine Tree Oil. The rich butternut flavour and perfect consistancy made this fabulous.
The main course of 36 hour braised Spring Lamb was very tender but undistinguished, the flavour not being enhanced by the braising. It was on a bed of absolutely lovely Parsnip Mousseline and accompanied by three tiny cubes of roasted Spring vegetables and a salad for the table.
The flourless chocolate souffle was very overcooked , hard on top and with no soft chocolate centre. The accompanying Gorgonzola Icecream was pleasantly modified by the chocolate topping which, in this case, was under it! The meal finished with tea/coffee and petit fours.
Between courses Dr Peter Barham talked about the origin of the Molecular Food movement and of some of the work he did with Heston Blumenthal illustrated with a series of short videos.
There were a scattering of celebrity chefs in the room including Gabriel Gate and Eric Mohr but far fewer than last year and I suspect they wil not do this dinner again
All in all I found it rather disappointing
Price: $100/ person and buy your wine which was reasonable

Score: 13.25/20

Thursday, September 06, 2007

C'est Bon

Introduction: In the heart of Port Melbourne at 396 Bay St this pleasing restaurant is as French as its' name
Ambiance: In a large stylishly outfitted wooden floored room with good space between white linen covered tables speaks of a good quality surburban restaurant

Service: So efficient that I found it a little abrupt

Food: We ate through a moderate amount of the menu and were generally well satisfied. The quiche with generous serve of bugs on a camembert filled tarte was quite excellent. quenelles were pleasant without being outstanding as were the duck salad and the Tarte with tomato a salad with tomato and fetta cheese.

Each of the mains - roasted rabbit, a little dry, the crispy skin duck sauce a little lacking , pork and the eye fillet were also very good but all missed out on being excellent. Portions were a good size as were the side dishes of French fries and beans
Desserts were variable. The Creme Brulee was the best example of this dish i have ever had. The chocolate mousse, on the other hand was very ordinary
Wine: Moet by the glass excellent as was sauv/blanc and the 2002 Chateau Rame bordeau very good value at $42/ bottle
Price; At the top end for a bistro at the 'Paris end' of Bay St We paid $360 which included a 10% tip

Comments: I love French food and there are still so many things on this menu that I want to try I will come back again

Score: 14/20

Monday, September 03, 2007


Introduction: Highly regarded Japanese influenced modern restaurant at 1 Flinders Lane deserves the high ratings of the Age Good Food Guide and Gourmet Traveller
Ambience: Bare concrete walls and ceiling contrast with the snow white table linen, good quality cutlery and the pleasant views across Spring Street if you get an appropriate table. A little stark but inoffensive. The tables are VERY close to each other. At the next table I could not help overhearing world renowned Swedish trombonist, composer and conductor Christian Lindbergh. Ranked with Louis Armstrong I was delighted to hear him perform later that night with the Australian Chamber Orchestra! 6/10

Service: Pleasing waitress made us feel we had chosen well. The long wait between courses was immediatewly rectified on our request 7/10

Food: There is a 5 course tasting menu for $80 with a $5 surcharge if you have the Wagyu porterhouse (we did) Unlike most degustation menus, which remove the need for thought except to ask for a change where something does not suit, at Verge the patron chooses any 5 dishes from the regular menu.

We had Crab and pickled cucumber, makerel and Diakon maki, a Tortellini of brandade, fresh horseradish, bisque sauce, a confit of salmon 'escabesche', salmon caviar, cauliflower and tofu puree, Chargrilled beef brisket, sweet and sour turnips, mustard miso with grade 7 Wagyu and dessert of Millefeuille of pear and hazelnut, and Maracaibo chocolate sorbet.
Every dish was beautifully presented - art on a plate. Colourfully arranged the tastes were always interesting and sometimes exquisite. The salmon was wonderful and although the brisket was overcooked and therefore rather dry the sweet and sour turnips and mustard miso was unbelievable. 8.5/10
Wine; They have a highly regarded wine list with good range from $10 to $15 a glass
We completed the meal with tea and Petit fours - $2 each and delicious
Price: Entrees around $17 Mains ariond $35 desserts $15 On the expensive side but reasonable value

Comments: Regretably my camera gave up the ghost that morning and I was unable to photograph the dishes. They really were a delight to the eye as well as the taste buds.

Score: 15.5/20